Tackling loneliness through social prescribing: Evaluating the British Red Cross' national Community Connector programme
PHE ePoster Library. Clarke D. Sep 12, 2019; 274353; 159
Donna Clarke
Donna Clarke
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Abstract
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Abstract To evaluate services in over 30 locations across the UK a mixed-method repeated measures study was undertaken. Validated scales for loneliness and subjective wellbeing were used to collect data at three time points; start and end of support, and a three month follow up. 60 qualitative interviews were completed. A matched comparator analysis was undertaken to attribute impact and a social return on investment analysis estimated the social value of the services.Social prescribing was found to reduce loneliness, two thirds (69%) of service users experienced improvements in their loneliness scores between starting and ending their support. Compared to a statistically matched cohort, people supported by the services were more likely to have improvements in their loneliness (63-66% compared to 40-45%). Other benefits included improved wellbeing and confidence. The services were value for money, with a social return of £2.04 per £1 invested (when set up costs are removed). There was evidence of some shifting of need from statutory services, who were the main source of referrals, into the third sector/community organisations, which accounted for 66% of the activities/groups people were linked into.Having skilled workers who tailored support to the needs of individual users was important to success. Delivering a small number of contacts (median = 3 contacts) was sufficient to reduce loneliness for many users. A community infrastructure which offers a diverse range of accessible activities that users can be linked into is needed to secure sustained improvements in loneliness. External funding details Services and evaluation were funded by the Co-op
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